Gary Dell'Abate is so proud of being a lifelong Mets fan that he emphasized the point by saying it as if it were two words.
"Life. Long," the longtime producer of SiriusXM Satellite Radio's "Howard Stern Show" said as he watched batting practice before Game 4 of the World Series Saturday night.
Dell'Abate, who grew up in Uniondale, is old enough to recall the 1969 Mets winning it all, but has a special place in his fan's heart for the '86 team.
"I was 8 years old the first time, so it was exciting but I didn't live and breathe it like I did in '86," he said. "I was not on the edge of my seat. I just saw my aunts and uncles and dad jumping around.
"But '86 was crazy. I was living in the city, on the 7 train every other minute."
Dell'Abate, 54, recalled attending Game 1 in '86 alone, and the memorable Game 6 with his father. He went to Games 1 and 5 in 2000. Saturday night he was waiting for his son Jackson to fly in from Syracuse to join him for Game 4.
"I brought him home from college for this," Dell'Abate said.
Stern is known for being a casual sports fan, at best. But Dell'Abate is passionate and knowledgeable. He also has a less-than-positive Mets claim to fame, having thrown a spectacularly off-course ceremonial first pitch at Citi Field before a 2009 game.
When Dell'Abate ran into Mets captain David Wright before a Wright appearance on Jimmy Kimmel's late-night TV show, Wright asked him whether he had faked his throw that night for comic effect.
"I told him I didn't, and he seemed surprised," Dell'Abate said.
Mike Piazza was a Stern show regular during his days with the Mets. "He sort of got Howard; he got the humor," said Dell'Abate, also known as "Baba Booey" to Stern fans. "The Mets used to send him to us every January to kick off ticket sales. He and Howard would have a lot of fun."
Dell'Abate said as much enjoyment as the Mets season already has provided, he wants more.
"You get greedy," he said. "If they told you in June you'd make the playoffs, you'd say that's all I need. If they told you you'd beat the Dodgers [in the NLDS], that's all I need. Now they're in the World Series, and now you need that."